Friday, April 28, 2006


So here I am in Seattle… I’m actually in the plane right now running a calibration, and I thought that since I am up to date in my data reduction (from the last 4 flights), and that I’ve finished what my boss wants me to do for my performance assessment that I would pass the time while I wait for my calibrations by writing something for our somewhat neglected blog.

Seattle can be a rather pretty place when it's not gloomy. We've been fortunate that we haven't had more than one day of rain so far - I attribute that to the fact that I bought raingear soon after arriving, but more for the cold than the wet. This is my first time in Washington, which means that I’ve got one more state, although I’m afraid I’ve lost count of how many I’ve got now. I think it’s somewhere around 34, although it depends how you count them. (I include the three states where I’ve only been in airports, and I also include D.C. - although it really isn’t a state, but it is a separate entity - which goes against some people’s rules.) Anyhow, I didn’t expect to see quite so many mountains here in Seattle. The mountains are a lot further away here than they are in Vancouve. I guess it’s more like Surrey, where you can see a whole mountain range off in the distance. Here, however, there are ranges on almost all four sides - the cascades go from the north to the south on the eastern side of us, and the Olympians go to the north and south off to the west. They’re much more jagged and craggy than the mountains in Colorado, and it seems strange to not see foothills in the foreground. They’re stunningly beautiful from the ground as well as the sky. A few days ago we flew a flight track that took us by Mt. Bachelor for a fly-by of the peak which was pretty fun. There is a research station near the peak so the idea was that we could intercompare with them by getting really close. The best part was that we were told the previous day on the flight plan to “be sure to bring our cameras.” The best part was that the flight was only to be 4 ½ hours long - it felt more like a scenic outing than a research flight.

Sunday was our first hard down day, so I took the opportunity to do something I haven’t done in a long time: I went to Canada! I haven’t been on Canadian soil since May 25, 2005, so it was nice to go “home”. After a quick drive up I-5, a colleague of mine and I were crossing the border, and soon after that we were in Vancouver. We didn’t do anything really special up there – the two touristy things that I’d thought up were really expensive (who wants to pay $30 to catch a lift up Grouse Mountain?!), so instead we met up with my good friend Pete, had lunch at this fabulous little Panini place, wandered through the market on the Quay in North Vancouver, and drove Pete back to Surrey. The best part? We stopped at Tim Horton’s and had coffee – my first Tim’s coffee since the morning of May 25, not including the ones that I made from the can that Brenda brought us last month. I miss my Timmy’s. It was good to see things hadn’t changed too much, but I was weirded out by the TV screen mounted up in the menu area perpetually churning out Tim Horton’s images.

I’ve got 5 more days to go until I get to go home for a week. If it’s anything like the last week and a half, it’ll go by quickly and without a lot of fanfare. Hopefully between now and then I’ll actually go INTO Seattle – we’re living in suburbanland in a community north of Seattle called Lynnwood, and we work out of Paine Field base in Everett. Lynnwood is I’m sure a very nice place, but the hotel that we’re staying in is surrounded by large stores such as Best Buy, Famous Footwear, Nordstrom Rack and Babies R Us. Within a 10 minute walk we have a huge mall, surrounded by a number of chain restaurants, but thankfully there are a few that aren’t chains. (I’m not a snob about chain restaurants, but if I’m going to eat out in a different city, I want to eat something that I can’t get everywhere else in North America.)

Paine Field is where Boeings are built in what *used* to be the world’s largest building by volume – not the VAB, surprisingly. Evidently, there is a new building that has taken over that title. Nevertheless, it’s a rather old airport, and I’m not even sure there are commercial flights that take off from here. We don’t have a hangar, so the cold, wet, damp Seattle mornings are not too friendly to us when we have to work outside, but it’s been warming up during the day. We are parked on a tarmac right beside on old derelict B-52. It has 8 jet engines, wheels on the tips of the wings, and you can actually go stand up inside the bomb bay – not that we’re supposed to be doing that. A couple days ago some of our mechs were standing on ladders and peering into the windows like little children at Christmastime.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Courtesy of the interweb, via Shannon... I thought this was just too cute:

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Taxes and sudden death stress

Since the time I started putting Kai to bed, Tampa Bay has scored once, but Carolina has scored twice, and they are now tied at 2-2. (!!!) Go Hurricanes! The Leafs have already won tonight - wow. 5-1. That's pretty awesome... it would be sad for them to be eliminated after a performance like that!

So I'm slogging though Tax Hades right now. I spent a couple nights working on our Federal US taxes, and last night Keith and I worked on our Canadian taxes. I was just transferring over our "working versions" to the "final versions" - yes, we still do our taxes by hand. I know it's a lot of work, but I just can't justify paying for the tax program, and I don't mind doing them by hand. Anyhow, I realized as I was about to transfer over some of the information that there has to be some sort of accounting for the fact that the money we made this year in Canada was only in 5 months, not 12, and that we'd have to do something about that. Bummer... I thought we were going to get all our money back. Now I'm not so sure. Anyhow, I also had a brainwave about the US taxes around 5 AM this morning that Keith still gets to claim his exemption. I woke up and immediately started thinking about my inlet, too - we had some problems yesterday, and it turned out that (oh goody) we got to have access to the plane today, so of course, I went to work. But I digress...

So I still need to fix both the US Fed. tax thing for Keith, and I need to fix the Canadian/Ontario taxes for both of us, and I need to start AND complete our state taxes (which I hear aren't hard once you've got the Federal ones done.) It's all, well, very unfun. I need a vacation from taxes.

I just checked. So Tampa Bay has at least one point. Please please please - overtime loss.

And now I'm just stalling. Happy taxes everyone. Oh, and happy Easter, too.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Fun with B

Our friend Brenda, or "B" as she is known to our family, is here right now... she's reading a bedtime story to Kai as I'm typing. It's always nice to have a visitor from Ontario here in Boulder. It gives us a chance to catch up with what's going on back home, and it gives us an opportunity to experience Colorado again with someone new. We went up to the mountains today, and yesterday we went to the Celestial Seasonings Tea factory. Unlike the last time I went to the factory (with my parents), it was operational so we had to wear coolie hair nets. Keith found one of them in the van today. Thank goodness we didn't get his hair all over the van. Sadly we didn't have a beard net, though.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

birthdays and jesus songs

if i missed your birthday so far this year, here's to ya.
yesterday was becky's. happy birthday my dear sweet wife. a special thank you to gary and nancy.

as in other posts about family birthdays i say to have a drink, well that's just what becky and i did last night. not too much mind you, just a bit of nice anejo tequila. if you can find it get it.

over the last couple of weeks kai has started to recite the songs that they sing in his class on sunday mornings. over the last six months or so he has been in his class from 9 am until 12 noon. why so long you ask, well becky and i are either in an equipping seminar or i am working in the nursery during the first service and then we attend the second service together. you may ask doesn't kai get bored of being in the same class for so long. well no he doesn't. each class has different teachers and different curriculum. during each class the kids go downstairs for song time. this is when it gets good. at different times becky or i have had the chance to go and spy on him during the song time. from what we have noticed he just sort of stands or sits and takes it all in, not really doing the actions, not really singing along. but like i said earlier he has started singing these songs as he plays around the house. it is just the best feeling that he loves to sing and what can be better than singing about jesus.

i remember the days back at "off the edge" and we would sing - little white box- well i have taught it to kai and he loves it.

if i had a little white box to put my jesus in
i'd take him out of my little white box and share him with a friend.
if i had a little black box to put the devil in
i'd take him out of my little black box and shout at him (the original is -smash his face)
and put him back again.

this kid is a sponge, i guess all kids are really. i love to see the wheels turn behind those green eyes as i explain things to him. i can't wait to teach him more.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


So here's why Mel was in Veracruz. It's possible (likely?) that he's still there. There were a couple more sightings after I saw him at the hotel lounge, but I never saw him again. Speaking of the hotel lounge, that was the "Fiesta Americana", which was the hotel next door to the Camino Real where our entire group was staying. The Fiesta Americana is actually mentioned in the article in the link above.

I'm back in Boulder now. There was certainly a bit of culture shock on reentry. Boulder and the surrounding communities are so clean. There aren't buildings everywhere with rebar sticking out of the top story. There aren't countless billboards everywhere with their signs torn and flapping in the wind. There aren't half-finished buildings on every street. Everything here is so neat and orderly. It lacks the character of Veracruz...

I slept for 12 hours the night I got back. And then I had a 2 hour nap the next afternoon while Kai slept. I think I felt caught up on sleep after a few nights... I have been back to work now, and it seems a little surreal to be at the airport with the plane in a hangar.

I turn 31 today. I don't really feel 31. Maybe 31 doesn't have a feel? My boss told me that I'm a young'n. I guess it's all relative. I'd rather be 31 than 21. 21 was a lot more work. I'd rather be 31 than 41. I don't want to need bifocals yet, and I'm sure that's going to happen around 41. I suppose 31 is pretty good, considering.